Valerie Simms

Valerie Simms

Valerie Simms artist at Whitehorse Gallery

With an unparalleled level of authenticity and accuracy, Valerie Simms takes the classic genre of wildlife portraiture to new heights through her mesmerising use of pastels. Each portrayed animal possesses an inner stillness, hinting at their readiness for action, and we are given the privilege to glimpse into their eyes moments before they suddenly come to life by either taking flight or attacking their unsuspecting prey.


Valerie has always had a passion for portraiture and has been captivated by facial features, whether they belong to humans or animals. Her focus is primarily on the eyes in her portraits, using them as the starting point to build the rest of the image around. She has created a collection of up-close animal photographs with exceptional clarity to use as the foundation for each composition, ensuring that every aspect of fleece, fur, and feather appears incredibly realistic.


Valerie, who was born in Banbury, Oxfordshire in 1965, made the decision to pursue art, design, and illustration as a mature student and successfully completed her studies in 1997. Working from her Oxfordshire home studio, she constructs each composition using pastels, which she appreciates for their soft and smooth qualities, as well as their ability to emulate the harmonious merging of textures in nature when applied to paper.

“In pastels, I am drawn to a realistic style because of my love for portraiture. Immersion in my artwork provides me with a profound sense of accomplishment upon finishing a portrait, while the emotional reactions of my clients towards their personalised artwork bring even greater fulfilment”.

“My choice of subject matter and technique reflects aspects of my personality. As an artist, the knowledge and experience I gain from each new piece of work I create is the most important thing to me, as it helps me improve and build upon. I enjoy pushing my limits and embracing fresh and adventurous experiences”.